I am still trying to soak all this in. Over the past two nights I have seen two great games. One ending in disappointment and one ending in celebration. Over those two nights I have gotten about five total hours of sleep.
I know that the Chicago Cubs won last night. I watched the celebration, I followed the joy from fans on the Cubs flagship all day long. Yet, I am still trying to take everything in. I am still trying to grips with the fact the Cubs have reached the National League Championship Series for the second year in a row. Back to back years they were one of the last two National League teams standing.
Five years ago, the Cubs hired Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod. They told us they had a plan to make this team a contender year in and year out, and then the Cubs went out and lost 103 games in 2011. But they had a plan.
Trades of quality players and fan favorites angered a few of the fans who did not want to wait for the success Theo & Company promised the fan base. They wanted instant gratification. That gratification came last year when this team came out of nowhere to make the Wild Card game, advance to the NLDS and eliminate the St. Louis Cardinals. Up until last night, that was the greatest moment of my Cubs life. That elimination game where the Cubs hit a major league record six homers in a single postseason game. That was the most satisfying game I have witnessed.
Until last night.
Last night the Cubs once again made history. David Ross became the oldest MLB player in history to hit a postseason homerun. The Cubs also completed the greatest ninth inning comeback in a playoff clinching game in MLB history to advance to the NLCS.
Five years ago, the Cubs lost 103 games, five years later they won 103 games and are now in the NLCS in back to back years. I bought into the plan hook line and sinker. But even with that, I am still amazed the Cubs are as successful as they are.
What the Cubs are doing is exactly what Epstein said would happen. Sustained success with a team built from within. He told us the Cubs fans would have to wait a little while longer, but there would be a pay off at the end. These past two years are the payoff, and this is just the beginning.
The Cubs have not won anything yet. They haven’t even gotten any further than they did last year… yet. But this is the kind of success we were told to expect when the plan matured. This is the exactly what we were told would happen that many fans and media members (you know EXACTLY who you are) refused to see or understand.
This is the pay off! This is only the beginning. Things are only going to get better. Bring on the Washington Nationals. Bring on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Let’s get the NLCS under way.